Lasagne of Wild Mushroom Ragu with Pecorino and Porcini sauce

Lasagne of Wild Mushroom Ragu with Pecorino & Porcini sauceThis is a gorgeously indulgent dish, full of rich earthy flavours and textures. For the best result, the ragu should be made with a mixture of wild mushrooms, such as Ceps, oyster mushrooms and Enoki), however these can be expensive and/or hard to get hold of depending on the season. A mixture of chestnut and large flat mushrooms would work well as an alternative, I wouldn’t bother with those polystyrene globules sold variously as ‘white mushrooms’ or ‘closed cup mushrooms’ as they have next to no flavour. You’ll still get a good depth of mushroomyness with the more commonly available varieties, as the dried porcini added to both ragu and sauce pack quite a punch, and they’re readily available in supermarkets; in fact I always have them in the storecupboard, ready to pep up any stew, risotto or soup which needs extra oomph.

Random foodie know-how: The white sauce in Lasagne is traditionally a béchamel sauce, but the Pecorino & Porcini sauce in this recipe is technically a velouté. The difference? Although both sauces begin with a classic roux (butter and flour gently heated together to make a thickening paste into which a hot liquid is then stirred), a velouté is made with stock – in this case the liquid from steeping the dried mushrooms – whereas a Béchamel is made with milk.

Lasagne of Wild Mushroom Ragu with Pecorino & Porcini sauce
Serves 6

Lasagne of Wild Mushroom Ragu with Pecorino & Porcini sauce

250g fresh egg lasagne sheets (or equivalent of dried, cooked according to packet instructions)

For the ragu:
3 tbsp olive oil
large knob of butter
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely grated
1 celery stick, finely grated
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
pinch of crushed red chilli
2 tbsp tomato puree
1kg mushrooms, sliced
25g dried porcini mushrooms
250ml white wine (I recommend a Chardonnay or similar, nothing too tart)
125ml Marsala
1 x 390g carton chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf

For the Pecorino-Porcini sauce:
15g unsalted butter
15g plain flour
100g Pecorino, grated
300ml sour cream
25g dried Porcini mushrooms
Nutmeg or ground mace, to taste

Start by rehydrating the porcini mushrooms (for both ragu and sauce) by pouring over a generous amount of freshly boiled water. Leave to soften and plump up.

Get a large saucepan or casserole dish nice and hot, then add the olive oil and butter and allow to melt. Sweat the onion, carrot, and celery gently until softened, then add the herbs, garlic, chilli and tomato puree and fry gently for a minute or two until starting to smell aromatic.

Drain the rehydrated porcini (reserve the liquid), and finely chop. Add the fresh mushrooms and half the chopped porcini to the saucepan (reserve the rest for the other sauce), and allow to sweat gently for a couple of minutes. Add the wines and tomatoes, season generously with salt and pepper, bring to a boil then turn down to a gentle simmer for 45 minutes.

In the meantime, make the Pecorino & Porcini sauce: melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the flour and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring continuously, until golden. Add 200ml of the drained porcini liquid, drop by drop whilst whisking continuously, to make a smooth sauce. Add the chopped porcini, and simmer gently until starting to thicken. Stir in the grated pecorino and allow to melt, before adding the sour cream. Taste and season with salt, pepper and ground mace or nutmeg. Blitz briefly with a stick blender until smooth.

Once both sauces are ready, preheat the oven to 200C/fan180/Gas 6, and layer up the lasagne in a large dish. Start with a third of the ragu in the base, then the pasta sheets and half the Pecorino-Porcini sauce. Continue with another third of the ragu and more pasta sheets. Finish with a final layer of ragu, pasta sheets and the last of the sauce. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until bronzed and bubbling.

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14 thoughts on “Lasagne of Wild Mushroom Ragu with Pecorino and Porcini sauce

  1. This sounds like it must have a great deep mushroomy flavour – sound lovely. Dried mushrooms are definitely a great storecupboard item to have on hand. I often use them as a standby to make a risotto if I’m running out fresh ingredients.

  2. Ha I was just reading your Porcini Lasagne when I got your comment! I made a Lasagne Bolognese last night – all lasagasnes are rich but lovely. Like the creamy earthiness of porcini, perfect for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike

  3. Wow. This looks so packed with a flavour punch that nobody in our house would notice there was no meat in it. Love the addition of the spices in there with the mushrooms and the sauce sounds lovely with sour cream and a salty touch with the pecorino. I would opt for fresh lasagne for such a sophisticated dish. Knock-out!

  4. Thanks everyone for the lovely comments, it really was a very delicious and satisfying dish! Everyone I’ve fed it to is a hard-core meat-eater, but noone has ever noticed or cared about the lack of meat, it’s so full of flavour and texture you really don’t need it!

  5. Hi, Lasagne is one of my favourite dinners and this looks delicious. White sauce is one of my the 6 mixes I use for all my cooking so am always on the lookout for new ways to use it
    x

  6. This recipe looks amazing…Have been trying lots of different kinds of vegetarian lasagne recently and this one looks brill! Love mushrooms, so going to give this very special recipe a go in the coming weekend. Thanks for sharing.

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